The Northern Thai Village (60)


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From the architectural point of view, the northern Thai house is distinguished from its counterpart in the central region by the cross at the tip of the gables, known as Ga-Lae. Traditionally, the Ga-Lae are delicately carved with intricate motifs, unlike the plain triangular gables normally found in the villages of the central plain area. In the north, a house is normally roofed with small ceramic tiles. The windows are normally small in order to keep people warm during the winter.

The main part of the house is constructed of wood. The common deck together with the water hall (Ruean Nam) are built adjacent to the house. The water hall, considered necessary part of the house, is a roofed deck where three to four small pots are placed side by side. Next to the deck, in a larger northern Thai house, there is possibly Pa-Lai or an open hall functioning as a meeting I room. Bedrooms are inside the house.

Another unique characteristic of the northern Thai house is a carved piece of wood placed above the door. This piece of wood normally intricately carved with traditional designs and called Ham Yon. It is a mystical sign believed to help protect the residents from all harm.